Review by Will Smith
"Square raises the bar incredibly high for the quality in CG movies. And that's it."
Final Fantasy VII. Yes, this is THE game that turned Japanese RPGs from being a niche genre in North America into a a certified profitable genre with a large fanbase. With slick prime time advertising, excellent CG FMV cutscenes, and being the first 3D RPG ever, FFVII became a classic and turned millions of North Americans into FFVII fanboys and Square loyalists. But I digress.....
*May Contain Spoilers*
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is done as COMPLETE fanservice to all the Final Fantasy VII maniacs across the world. Imagine the geekiest most hardcore FFVII fanboy was the director and the result is this movie.
Advent Children has EXCELLENT aesthetics. Until this date I have never seen a CG movie with painstaking attention to realism. From each character's clothes, hairstyle, and surroundings, everything is superb in quality. Bodies are proportionate and extremely realistic, as is the light sourcing.
But several things takes away from the realism. First of all, every single character in this game is a supermodel. Yes, it's true. Everyone is flawless, with perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect bodies and perfect hair, as if they just stepped off of a runway. The fact that every character is so PERFECT in their looks and has no distinguishing traits (not a freckle or a mole or any slight distinguishing trait) takes away from the realism.
Advent Children's male characters (both protagonists and antagonists) take the metrosexual look to an extreme that has never been seen before. Cloud, two of the silver haired villains, and several other male characters could easily pass for females. Tweezed eyebrows, silky smooth perfect skin, deep blue eyes, and everyone having perfectly fit physiques indeed makes this movie a Fantasy.
Another thing that takes from the realism is the fight scenes. They had potential. A lot of potential. Too bad it got screwed up for being so damn predictable. There were a couple of well organized sequences, but the rest just goes from exaggerated to flat out humorous. Characters scale walls like Spiderman, characters leap 200 feet in the air (this is all normal in the AC world, apparently), people juggle each other in midair with attacks as if it were an over the top fighting game.
But the most annoying thing is that all the characters show NO physical signs of damage. It seems like Square Enix was afraid that one of the pretty boys would smear their make up or mess up their perfectly sculpted hair. Not a single drop of blood is shed, bones aren't broken, people aren't even slightly bruised. All of the reality that Square Enix put millions of dollars into making the viewer drop their jaw in awe of the CG realism is thrown out the window with everyone looking like perfect dolls and not receiving any injury. As for the fight sequences, it goes like this: super fast unrealistic jumping and kicking, slow motion close up of the hero, more super fast action sequences that happen in a blur. Either that or it is endless sword flailing and jumping/flying 20 miles in a single bound.
As for the story let me just say this: CLOUD. Cloud, Cloud, Cloud. The whole damn thing revolves around a character whose emotional depth is about as shallow as a puddle of urine. Cloud never smiles, never suffers, never shows doubt or if he's even alive. It's like he's just a an angsty robot that only knows how to fight. It's like he's a new version of the Terminator for the year 2006.
Square Enix isn't above product placement as well. Let's just say the image of a certain cellphone gets a ridiculous amount of screen time...
Remember the statement I said earlier about the biggest of the FFVII geeky fanboy directing this movie? Well it's all here. It's obviously a popularity contest. Cloud being the most popular *duh* gets all the screen time, while the second most popular protagonist, big breasted Tifa, gets a HUGE role in the story and her screen time is only second to Cloud.
Now back to every FFVII fanboy's favorite character, Cloud. From the very beginning of the movie, his name is being mentioned. Everyone from the annoying little girl (and lots of annoying children) to the supporting cast are asking the same thing the fanboys are: "Where's Cloud?". Don't worry folks, there is more than enough Cloud to go around. In fact it is ridiculous the way Cloud is portrayed. Besides having a one dimensional flat personality, this constantly brooding guy with perfect hair and sparkling blue eyes is the ONLY one who can defeat any type of nemesis. Sure, the supporting cast of FFVII shows up for a battle, but it's really just a glorified cameo. They apparently don't have the "mad skillz" and 700,000 swords that Cloud has in possession on his person and stored on his batmobile...er, motorbike. Like another reviewer said, I HATE movies where the main character is brooding and badass and never shows any weakness (which is why I hate Steven Seagal movies).
If Cloud is virtually invincible what's the point of having a supporting cast? This is fanservice taken to a disgustingly new level. Every videogame based anime movie (and even regular action movie) that I have seen has even the most popular and toughest main character getting their ass kicked hard by their nemesis. It creates tension. It makes the battle more dramatic (good examples would be the Street Fighter II and Fatal Fury 2 anime). There is none of this in Advent Children. No one in the supporting cast lands a death blow to a minor enemy. The supporting are just wasting their time since Cloud is invincible and will kill everyone. And I'm not even going to mention the ridiculous scene where the supporting cast acts as a human elevator to boost Cloud up into the stratosphere to battle....
As for the big scene all the fanboys will cream in there pants for between Cloud and every FFVII's fanboy's favorite villain, it's disappointing, cliched, and definitely anti-climatic. You and I knew the outcome before even seeing the movie. However, nobody would have guessed it would have been this ridiculous...(and brief). Even the dead girl (you know who I'm talking about ) makes a cameo now and then.
Overall, people should watch Advent Children for the realism and pushing the envelope in CG movie quality. Final Fantasy and Square Enix fanboys will buy this regardless, so a recommendation is pointless. Despite the fact that every male character is a supreme metrosexual, the story is worthless, the action sequences are often ridiculous and exaggerated, and that the main hero is one dimensional, emotionless, and invincible, Advent Children is somewhat enjoyable. But this movie is not worth the price. Excellent CG technology, nothing else. Like someone else told me, with people slashing buildings in half, defying gravity, and leaping into the stratosphere for midair battles, Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is just a CG Dragon Ball movie.
Reviewer's Rating: 1.0 - Terrible
Originally Posted: 02/24/06
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